'Minty' Orange - '96 C16R


Retro Guru
It's been a while since posting on here and with a 'fruity' new build project about to be commenced and finally on the go (actually there's two on the go but that's another story) I thought I'd keep a tab on the progress and share with everyone on here......
As some of you remember, I was 3/4 the way through on a '92 Aluminium Elite build which I pulled the plug on after deciding the frame was simply not my size..... I spent sometime trying to convince myself I could get away with a 19" but it wasn't happening so I stripped the project and sold the frame despite putting so many hours into it.

Moving on, I was super keen to crack on with another build so it didn't take long before a really tidy and original C16R frame came up for grabs on here courtesy of Tim (2manyoranges)...... Many moons have past since I last rode a steel frame and originally owned a Reynolds 531 Carrera Quattro (very first MTB) whilst working for Halfords and also rode a few early 90's Stumpjumpers so I'm no stranger to the metal but knowing Orange's track record for the period with the Clockwork's and Prestige's as well as current peoples opinion on them, I was positive steel was the way to go....


A 1996 17" which Tim had owned from new, came with really good original paint and some of the original decals still present (headtube and both downtube) was an ideal base for a new build but I was very unsure where to go with it.....



Pleasantly surprised by the frame weight at a tad over the 2kg mark and found myself deeply drawn to the nice skinny tube profiles of this classy looking XC frame.

After much deliberation and a lot of thinking as to where to go with it, the decision was made to go for a change of colour despite it's good original paint (I know I can hear some tutting under your breath haha) but there were still some marks and scratches here and there. The build plan was never going to be a 'catalogue' build so I do apologise to the 'purists' in advance. There seem to be plenty of original lovely examples out there restored or not and for me, I want this build how I'd of tackled it back in the day.... OEM+
Groupset wise it was a no brainer so going to go with XT M737/738 3 x 8 which I loved back in the day. Fork wise I'm a bit stuck, I've a few sets of early RC35's and a set of later RC36 Evo's but nothing for the '96 period..... somewhat limited as wanting to run a 1" threaded steerer as I like the Orange Stalk (SK:cool: stem. Would also like to run a longer travel fork plus keep to canti's and not V-brake so hopefully a set of Pace MXCD's (60mm travel) will pop up somewhere as these seem to tick all the right boxes I'm after but could be a long weight so will hamper build progress..... Wheel wise I've a few options but undecided yet and sat on a couple XT 737 hub sets on Mavic XC717 and FIR 123's black and silver or might go with some Hope/Pace hubs on silver XC717's so will see what goes closer to the time.

So then it came down to the colour change..... Luckily I know the owner of a local paint shop who has carried on with his late fathers business and having done a few of my retro VW's over the years, we had a chat. Initially I was simply going to go for a powder coat in white then when dropping off a couple of frames with him one morn I spotted his road bike in the office...... A lovely carbon steed with Dura ace Di2, discs and running some sweet ENVE deep carbon wheels...... "Can you match that colour...?" I asked..... "Sure" was the reply!

So, it was decided upon there and then and the colour of choice was...................... 'Mountain Mint'. Based on the famous and iconic Bianchi Celeste Green, although not for the purists amongst you I was pretty positive it would look great as a colour way. Interesting to note that over the many years Bianchi have run their trademark colour, there were actually 11 shades/versions available that have graced their frames over the decades.... I still have fond memories of watching Marco Pantani winning the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in 1998 on his Bianchi's. Anyway, I digress, so here's a few images after I got it back from the painters..... they were super busy so waited a good few weeks but really pleased with the out come.....





I also had the Hot Rod bars colour matched and the Stalk SK8 stem powder coated satin blk too.....Next was an order to Gil @retrodeclas for some vinyl goodness and went for a nice gloss black set to contrast nicely against the frame colour with a bit of orange thrown in for good measure.... A smattering of black aluminium frame and bottle boss bolts and a genuine chain stay protector from Orange has got me to this point so far......... hope you all like :)







mk one

Old School GrandMaster
Retrobike Rider
BoTM Winner
Gold Trader
Kona Fan
Liking the colour choice, definitely a positive change, the black bolts are a nice touch too :cool: